Public Defender's Office

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get a public defender?

Public defenders are requested and appointed by the Judge during arraignment. The Judge determines if you are eligible for a public defender based on your current financial situation. The Office of the Public Defender is not permitted by law to provide legal advice until officially appointed.
How and when do I meet with my appointed public defender?

You must call the Public Defender's office within 20 days after your arraignment to make an appointment with your attorney. If you do not meet with your attorney to assist in the preparation of your trial, the Judge may revoke your bond and place you in jail until your next court date.
Can a public defender help with my divorce? Child custody?

Public defenders are only appointed for criminal cases including felonies, misdemeanors, and mental health hearings.
Are public defenders "real lawyers"?

Yes. All public defenders are licensed to practice law by the Arkansas Bar Association. They have the same education and meet the same requirements as attorneys employed by private law firms. They aim to provide every client the best possible representation.